This is part two of a two-post guest series by Rachel Bailes
3. When you’re feeling like your partner has all the power, it’s important to guard your heart and recognise that you are in just as much control.
Week in and week out, the Bachelor is the one with the roses to give out.
It is extremely rare that one of the Bachelorettes doesn’t want to stay or does not find the Bachelor worth sticking around for.
There seems to be a nearly 1 in 1 chance that the women will “go for” the Bachelor, and a proposal has never been refused in the history of the show.
By the rules of a show like the Bachelor or those of traditional courtship, you may feel like your prospective spouse is the one with all the power to offer you a ‘rose’ – be it a date, a profession of love, or a proposal – but you always have the power to accept or reject it on your own terms.
Some women have even placed conditions of accepting roses, such as more attentiveness or more time spent, and others have proposed their own impromptu dates (the most notable of which was the bath-towel-clad Courtney in Season 16 of the Bachelor when she wooed a dazed Ben to the ocean to frolick – she went on to win the season).
The lesson is that no matter the rules you choose to date by and no matter your views on gender roles, when two people share a connection they both take full ownership of that connection, claim their status as equal members of the relationship, and participate fully in its growth.
4. For every transient connection you build, there is a person on the other end that you must cut ties with – often painfully – in order to reach the pointy end of beginning the next stage of your life.
The situations that the Bachelor produces are designed to manufacture feelings of excitement, closeness and bonding. The entire process of The Bachelor is literally the production of a relationship.
The producers have produced so many of these relationships over nineteen seasons of the Bachelor and ten seasons of the Bachelorette but all that there is to show for their efforts are hundreds upon hundreds (480 women and 250 men, to be precise) of beautiful cast members, the majority of which were cast-offs. That’s a lot of breakups.
But rather than branding the parting moment as a tragedy or a failure, the Bachelor learns to see it as the moment that, though painful, brings him one step closer to his wife.
Yes, if you are going to treat dating as a recreational activity or play around with it noncommittally as the dreaded “Christian player”, you should count the cost on the other end of your decisions.
Equally, though, if you are unwilling to bite the bullet and call time on relationships that you know are “good but not great”, you may find yourself stuck in a relationship that you know isn’t right feeling as though it is too late for an ‘out’.
Christians should never stay with a relationship out of a sense of obligation or resignation; there is always an ‘out’, always a better fit for the both of you, and always a better sense of peace to embrace on the other end of the heartbreak.
5. The Bachelor teaches us that you can be a Christian whom God is using to reach others in the most unlikely conditions.
Season 17’s Bachelor was Sean Lowe, an amiable, committed Christian from Dallas, Texas. Sean actually began his journey on the show on Season 8 of the Bachelorette, where he attempted to woo Emily Maynard.
Sean wanted a time to stay grounded in the word of God, so he would sneak away from the 24 other men each morning and sit on the verandah with a Bible and the devotional ‘Jesus Calling’.
As the men got fewer and fewer and his emotions with Emily got stronger, Sean kept up the devotional and one by one, the other contestants trickled out to join him and listen to him read from the Bible.
Eventually, one of the contestants, Charlie, ended up giving his life to Christ. While he was the Bachelor, Sean made clear to each of his Final 3 girls that being given a night together in ‘the fantasy suite’ would not mean they would be sleeping together, as is reportedly the convention.
He was able to make a stand on his conscience on national television and spoke later about the ability to share his faith on screen as a defining feature of his experience.
It’s remarkable that God can use the most unlikely participants in the wackiest human institutions – a regular guy who finds himself on a nationally televised ‘dating game show’ like the Bachelor – to reach the lost for Christ and plant the beginnings of a marriage. This should give us all hope that you really can find Jesus in everything, including the twists, turns, disappointments and dilemmas of your own love life.